Backlinks are a valuable but often overlooked method for increasing a web site’s rank in online search results. A backlink is simply another web site that links to your site. They are used by search engines to rank site popularity and credibility. So, the more backlinks a site has from other trustworthy sites, the higher its position on a list of organic (non-paid) search results.

The most effective type of backlink is the anchor text link. This is a description with a clickable link that helps search engines like Google rank a site based on keywords. For instance, a link to a site called “Trendy Boston Cupcake Bakeries” is ideal as opposed to one that simply states, “Check out details here.” The terms “Boston,” “Cupcake” and “Bakeries” give the search engines data on the site, while the second one adds no value to the site’s ranking.

Wondering how to increase your site’s backlinks? Reciprocal links with other sites and purchasing links are both discouraged, and can spell trouble for your site’s search engine credibility. One-way links from other sites to yours is the goal – and they should occur throughout your site instead of only to the home page.

Successful backlinking strategies include submitting your site to industry-related and search directory listings (like Google Local, Yelp, and Yahoo!), posting articles to, and participating in content exchanges, wherein you offer an article or report to content-driven sites in exchange for a free backlink. In addition, include links to your site when participating in online forums and commenting on blog posts. If applicable, you can also highlight your products by posting and tagging photos of them on Flickr (with links to your site, of course).

Backlinks have the power to significantly boost your site’s exposure and generate qualified leads. If you don’t have time to spare on increasing your backlinks, contact an integrated marketing firm to help you select a professional link building package or service.